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ii         THE CHURCH OF S. JOHN OF THE STUDION        49
stand at the east end of the south aisle. The most important act he performed during the service was to incense the head of John the Baptist enshrined on the right hand of the bema, At the conclusion of the Office of the day, he was served by the monks with refreshments under the shade of the trees in the monastery grounds (avaSevSpdSiov); and, after a short rest, proceeded to his barge with the same ceremonial as attended his arrival, and returned to the palace.1
The church was converted into a mosque in the reign of Bajazet II. (1481-1512) by the Sultan's equerry, after whom it is now named.
Architectural Features
The church of S. John the Baptist of the Studion is a basilica, and is of special interest because the only surviving example of that type in Constantinople, built while the basilica was the dominant form of ecclesiastical architecture in the Christian world. It has suffered severely since the Turkish conquest, especially from the fire which, in 1782, devastated the quarter in which it stands, and from the fall of its roof, a few winters ago, under an unusual weight of snow. Still, what of It remains and the descriptions of its earlier state given by Gyllius, Gerlach, and other visitors, enable us to form a fair idea of its original appearance. The recent explorations conducted by the Russian Institute at Constantinople have also added much to our knowledge of the building.
It is the oldest church fabric in the city, and within its precincts we stand amid the surroundings of early Christian congregations. For, partly in original forms, partly in imitations, we still find here a basilica's characteristic features : the atrium, or quadrangular court before the church; on three of its sides surrounded by cloisters ; in its centre, the marble phiale or fountain, for the purification of the gathering worshippers ; the narthex^ a pillared porch along the western fa9ade, where catechumens and penitents, unworthy to enter
1 Constant. Porphyr. ''Sfc cer. ii. pp. 562-3.